Easy ways to fight bank fraud

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The names, numbers, and signatures were all changed with different handwriting, illegible amounts. Yet with all these questionable issues these checks were still somehow cashed, leaving a long time customer in the hole for more than a thousand dollars.

Susan Strauss feels victimized twice; first by a thief who she believes fished her checks out of the mailbox, and second, by Citibank which denied her fraud claim, twice.

Susan showed us the three checks she says were forged, but cashed nonetheless. On one check the woman's name is sloppily written over the intended recipient and the amount is changed from $127 to $527. There's a little more effort put into the other two. The fraudster used Wite-out, changing the name and upping the dollar figures.

"I don't know how they cashed it," remarked Susan. "I don't understand that."

She wrote the checks for two trade shows and a utility bill in mid-October, but didn't notice the fraud until December 9th. That's a problem, since banks allow 60 days from the date of the fraud to report it. Since she was outside that window her claim was denied.

So Susan sent an SOS to us. We asked the nation's fourth largest bank to take a third look at Susan's checks. And, just days later, in Susan's words, justice was done. She got all the money restored to her account.

The big takeaway - all banks and credit card companies give you 60 days to report fraud after it appears on your statement.

So scrutinize those statements - either online - or paper - for incorrect or fraudulent charges.

And get a police report - this will go a long way to prove someone else committed the crime.

Citibank corporate statement:

"We're pleased to have resolved this matter for the customer. We encourage customers to contact us as soon as possible if they suspect fraud related to their account."


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